Greece’s prime minister says Turkish fighter jets harassed the helicopter he was traveling on during a visit to a remote Greek island to celebrate independence day.

Alexis Tsipras said he was “welcomed” by Turkish fighter jets violating Greek airspace during his arrival Monday on the small eastern Aegean island of Agathonissi.

The move forced the helicopter pilot to carry out low maneuvers until Greek fighter jets arrived to deflect the Turkish aircraft, Tsipras said.

A boy dressed in traditional costume walks in front of a military vehicle ahead of a parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
A boy dressed in traditional costume walks in front of a military vehicle ahead of a parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

Greece and Turkey have long had tense relations and are divided over several issues, including territorial disputes in the Aegean. Athens often complains Turkish fighter jets violate its airspace.

Tsipras stressed Greece is committed to dialogue and cooperation with Turkey, but that if necessary “we will do what our ancestors taught us, to defend our country.”

Army officers paint their faces ahead of a military parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. The parade commemorates Greek Independence Day, which marks the start of the war of independence in 1821 against the 400-year Ottoman rule. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Army officers paint their faces ahead of a military parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. The parade commemorates Greek Independence Day, which marks the start of the war of independence in 1821 against the 400-year Ottoman rule. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
A man with a boy holding a Greek flag walk in front of military vehicles ahead of a parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
A man with a boy holding a Greek flag walk in front of military vehicles ahead of a parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Army officers paint their faces ahead of a military parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. The parade commemorates Greek Independence Day, which marks the start of the war of independence in 1821 against the 400-year Ottoman rule. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Army officers paint their faces ahead of a military parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. The parade commemorates Greek Independence Day, which marks the start of the war of independence in 1821 against the 400-year Ottoman rule. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Red Cross personnel speak with nurses ahead of a military parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Red Cross personnel speak with nurses ahead of a military parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Musical instruments from a military band are placed against a wall ahead of a parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)
Musical instruments from a military band are placed against a wall ahead of a parade in Athens, on Monday March 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

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